Missing Hiker Found After 12 Days in Zion National Park

by Matthew Wilson
Photo credit: Doug Merriam/MCT/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

A family reunited, and a terrifying ordeal had a happy ending. Search parties found a hiker alive, 12 days after she went missing in Zion National Park.

Holly Courtier disappeared on Oct. 6 while visiting the park in Utah. People last saw Courtier on a shuttle bus, headed to the Angels Landing trailhead. She didn’t return on the bus by the end of the day.

According to park services, Zion covers an area of 232 miles. It also contains a vast landscape of plateaus, mazes of sandstone canyons, and a water network related to the Virgin River. Additionally, the height difference is 5,000 feet from its lowest canyon to the highest peak.

Fortunately for Courtier and her family, search teams received “a credible tip from a park visitor that they had seen Courtier within the park.” They found her shortly after on Oct. 18 and reunited her with her family.

“We would like thank the rangers and search teams who relentlessly looked for her day and night and never gave up hope,” the family said in a statement. “We are also so grateful to the countless volunteers who were generous with their time, resources and support. This wouldn’t have been possible without the network of people who came together.”

A family friend Kelley Kaufman also told CNN that they were “overwhelmed and grateful.”

The Missing Hiker Spent 12 Days in Zion National Park

After she lost her job, Courtier decided to travel the country in a converted van. She wanted to see all of the nation’s national parks. Because driving to Zion park is banned, Courtier took a shuttle into the park.

When her mother went missing, Courtier’s daughter Kailey Chambers traveled to Zion to search for her. She had become worried when she hadn’t heard from her mother in over a week.

“This was her dream, to see national parks,” Chambers said. “She lost her job as a nanny due to Covid-19. The family could not afford to keep paying her. She made that a positive thing — said that gave her the time to get out, see the parks.”

Zion National Park thanked those who had helped search for Courtier, including the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, K-9 units, search teams and rangers from other national parks, and volunteers.

[H/T: CNN]